Letter to the Editor

   Let Me See, What Can I Think Of Next?


   I learned quickly that the company is constantly pushing. Constantly demanding. I also learned that they would take me out if I give them the opportunity. I started looking at what my life was like at UPS. I noticed that I was always one of the last trucks in every night. I was tired of only spending the weekend with my family, and even then I am so tired that I am no fun and kind of grouchy because I am worn out from the long week. My wife seems to be getting more distant and my kids seem to always have other stuff to do. I guess that’s because I’m never a part of their life. I decided Monday I would go to management and demand that they reduce my dispatch.
        Monday rolled around and I talked to my supervisor, telling him of my problems working so many hours, that it was affecting my family. He kind of chuckled, but he said he’d take a look at it and see where he could help me. I had an 11-hour day that day. I was optimistic that they were going to help so I again snuck in early on Tuesday, even though my steward had asked me not to. I had another eleven-hour day. Now I was getting pissed. No one seemed to want to help me.
        I threw a tantrum in front of the office with everyone around. The manager threatened to fire me if I didn’t knock it off. They told me that if I did the things I said about missing stuff, and going slow etc. that they would fire me again. The steward grabbed me by the arm and led me off into the corner. He told me I wasn’t helping myself by threatening management. All I was doing was opening the door for them to audit my every move through Telematics. He said it just doesn’t pay to make yourself a target, that there are other ways to achieve my goals.
        I confessed that I was having problems at home because of excessive hours, and that I was worn out from so many long days. He told me that if I listened to him, we would get the problem fixed. I said I’d try anything. The first thing we did was to go to the manager and apologize for my tantrum. I told the manager that I was struggling at home. We left it at that for the day. The steward told me to do a good job today, but to come see him first thing tomorrow. I worked my 11-hour day, and went home burned out again
         I was unsure what the steward was going to do as nothing had changed yet. I arrived the next morning and the steward met me before I could sort my car. He said the first thing I was to do was stay out of my car until my start time. I didn’t understand but agreed for the time being. We then went to my supervisor and informed him that I had been continually dispatched with over 9.5 hour days. The steward told him that I wanted my dispatch reduced, and that if they didn’t do it immediately he would file a grievance.
        The supervisor said OK and went to the pre-load manager and had him pull 25 stops. I was astounded. They had never pulled anything from me before. They always added to my day. The steward then instructed me that if I was still going over 9.5 hours, I was to notify the company by 2 o’clock that I needed help. The day went fine with the reduced dispatch and I returned to the building at six.
        I was home by six thirty. My kids met me at the door with a loud “Daaaaaaddy”. I had dinner with my family for the first time in months. It was great. My wife and I put the kids to bed and had a great evening together. We talked about what I’d been going through, but I told her I was on the right track, that I was going to be a member of the family again. She cried.
        The next day I asked the steward how he did all of this. He told me it was “tricks of the trade”. He said that if I had an hours problem again to bring it to his attention immediately. I suddenly began to see what the union meant to my family and me. They had control over my working conditions after all. All I had to do was ask for help.